Forensic psychiatry and applied clinical ethics: theory and practice

Am J Psychiatry. 1984 Mar;141(3):395-9. doi: 10.1176/ajp.141.3.395.


The authors briefly describe and then apply a new method--applied clinical ethics--for identifying and working with ethical problems. This method, starting from the clinical context, develops ethical constructs that may be tested in clinical practice and revised if required. The work was done in the context of a combined university-county forensic psychiatric service. The authors discuss three of the identified ethical issues: effects of deinstitutionalization, countertransference with forensic populations, and prediction of dangerousness. They discuss the basis for developing ethical norms from clinical experience and suggest ethical guidelines for medical practice.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Countertransference
  • Dangerous Behavior
  • Deinstitutionalization
  • Ethical Analysis
  • Ethics, Medical*
  • Female
  • Forensic Psychiatry / standards*
  • Humans
  • Interdisciplinary Communication
  • Law Enforcement*
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / classification
  • Mental Disorders / psychology
  • Paternalism
  • Personal Autonomy
  • Probability
  • Social Values*